Articles & Discussion Questions

We start many of our days together by reading an article from the newspaper or another current publication.  In addition to discussing the content and writing style of the pieces, noticing interesting vocabulary words and solving math problems presented in the the texts, we talk about the lessons we learn from the articles and how we can apply them in our own lives.
Below are links to the articles and some of the questions we discussed as a class.

Article for Stranger in a Strange Land Mission (Q&C Project): From The New York Times: My Family's Experiment in Extreme Schooling.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011: From The New York Times: A Little Deception Helps Push Athletes to the Limit

Roger Bannister, the first runner to break the four-minute mile, said that when it comes to performance, "It is the brain, not the heart or lungs that is the critical organ."  Do you agree or disagree?  Have you noticed instances in your life when competition has made you perform better than you ever have before?  Is it okay for a coach to lie if it makes athletes perform better, or is it better to be honest even if it doesn't get results?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011: From CNN: Engineers to Rappel Down Washington Monument

Would you rather be an expert rappeller (have the ability to get people access to places they otherwise would not be able to reach), or an expert engineer (have the ability to see what needs to be fixed and make a building safe)?  Would you rather build something new or fix something/make it better?  Is it more important for a building to be beautiful/unique or solid/structurally sound?

Thursday, September 29, 2011: (after a visit to the classroom from a real tarantula) From Medscape: Tarantula Envenomation and from The Durango Herald: Tough Tarantula Hawks are Wasps Well Worth Watching For

Which is more powerful: a tarantula or a tarantula hawk?  Is it right to hurt others if it helps you?  Which is more powerful: a good defense, or a good offense?  Which is the most important for survival: using strategy, or having a powerful weapon?  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011: From The Austin American-Statesman: With Bastrop Fire 95% Contained, Recovery is New Focus for Fire Crews and from Texas Drought and Wildfires

Which tells a better story: a written article of words, or a collection of photos?  If the outcome is the same (a huge wildfire that has burned for weeks, destroyed a lot of land and taken some peoples' homes) does it make a difference if the fire was started by accident or on purpose?

Which is better: to live looking back at things that happened in the past, or to focus on how we will act in the future?

Thursday, September 22, 2011: Iluminan Hogares con Botellas (They Light Homes with Bottles)

Do you agree or disagree with this statement: There is no such thing as a perfect idea.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011: From Earth Techling: Shoe Power?  Researchers Claim Breakthrough

Which is more important: a cheaper cost of a shoe, or the ability of an expensive shoe to allow you to generate electricity?  Would you rather come up with an invention or business to help people create electrical power on their own, or to help them create another type of power on their own (e.g. happiness, knowledge, money, something else)?

Thursday, September 15, 2011: From The Washington Post: A 9/11 Event That Embraces The Future.

Do you agree that looking forward is more important than looking back?  Which is more important: personal privacy and freedom or public safety?  What can you do to make the world safer, more compassionate, and more equitable?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011: From the Austin American-Statesman: LCRA Gets OK to Capture Water Downstream of Austin.

If you had been in the position to make this decision, what would you have done? Who is impacted by this decision? What would happen if the LCRA was not granted these permits?

Thursday, February 24, 2011: From The New York Times: U.S. Sets 21st-Century Goal: Building a Better Patent Office.
Do you think the Office’s money is better spent on technological improvements or more patent officers? If you had a patent pending, would you rather pay more to have it processed faster or less, but have to wait longer?
Tuesday, February 8, 2011:
From BBC News: Lake Vostok Drilling in Antarctic 'running out of time'.
Do you think it is worth the risk to keep drilling or should they stop in order to protect what might lie beneath the ice?
...and an update read after the discussion from Lake Vostok Drilling Mission Iced.

Thursday, February 3, 2011:
Today Ellie shared a fascinating article and a video about "The Invisible Man."
Ellie asked, "Why do you think this artist is doing this? Do you think he is trying to say something about the way China treats its artists? Do you think this art makes no sense, or that it is beautiful?"

Tuesday, January 25, 2011: From the New York Times: More to a Smile Than Lips and Teeth
After hearing about the research about human smiling, how can we use that information in our lives?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011: From the New York Times: Depth of the Kindness Hormone Appears to Know Some Bounds
If someone developed an oxytocin spray that caused people to feel more bonded to their group, would you choose to have it sprayed on your food at Acton Academy? Why or why not?

Monday, November 8, 2010: From the New York Times: Gebremariam Wins Men’s Race in Debut
Which do you think is more important, being a mentor or a young runner? Why?
Tuesday, November 9, 2010: From the New York Times: A Gambling Town Bets a Museum Can Compete
If you were the mayor of Biloxi, would you invest government money for this art museum? Why or why not? Do you think the museum will be beneficial to the city? Why or why not?
Thursday, November 11, 2010: From the New York Times:

Do you think that cigarette manufacturers should be forced to put warning labels and pictures on their products?  Do you think that images are more persuasive than words?
Monday, November 1, 2010: From the New York Times: Street Art Below the Street and Out of Reach
Who decides if something is art: the artist or the audience?  If there is no audience, can something still be considered art?

Monday, October 25, 2010: From The New York Times: Jet's Pryce Pursues a Hollywood Career
Can people have more than one calling? Would you give up one calling in order to pursue another? Why or Why not?
Thursday, October 28, 2010.  From a special pink section of the Austin American-Stateman dedicated to breast cancer awareness: A Sister's Promise Set Foundation in Motion and Bright Fundraisers: Artist's 'The Smile Never Fades' Highlights Creatures Who Comfort.  (These two articles are not available on-line.  They are both about people who lost a loved one to breast cancer and then started organizations to raise awareness and money in hopes of finding a cure.)
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: Something good can come from sadness.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010. From the New York Times: A Spray of DNA to Keep the Robbers Away
As a business owner if you could only afford either this system or theft insurance, which would you choose?
Thursday, October 21, 2010. From the Austin American-Statesman: Dead Sea Scrolls will soon be clicks away
What makes the Dead Sea Scrolls important: is it how old they are, how few people have had access to them or the content? If you had to choose to protect the scrolls from damage or share them with the public, what would you do?
Friday, October 22, 2010: From The New York Times: Smashing Pumpkins, the Halloween Rage
If you owned a business, would you fling some of your product from a trebuchet in order to attract more customers? Why or why not?

Monday, October 4, 2010. From the Austin American-Statesman: Software maker SailPoint sticks to old-school approach
If you were CEO of a company, would you pay the high price for a time-tested, effective software? Why or why not?
Thursday, October 7, 2010. From the Austin American-Statesman: Water needs of proposed power plant stir opponents
If you had to choose one side of the debate, would you allow the power plant to use water from the Colorado river or not?  Do you think it would be better to have the river controlled by the government/central committee, or have the water available to anyone who is able to take and use the water creatively?

Monday, September 27, 2010.  From The Austin American-Statesman: Bike For School

Do you think P.E. should be required in schools or should it be a choice?
Tuesday, September 28, 2010.  From The New York Times: A Finding on Malaria Comes From Humble Origins

Would you rather be a field scientist observing animals in their natural habitats and collecting samples, a lab scientist working to make a discovery based on the samples collected in the field, or a medical scientist using the findings to create new medicines?
Wednesday, September 29, 2010.  From The New York Times: Ancient Italian Town Now Has Wind at Its Back
What innovations or changes have you made in your own life that have benefitted both you and the environment?

Monday, September 20, 2010
.  From The Austin American-Statesman: City Considers Fees for Fitness Businesses in Parks
If you were a city official in charge of making this decision, what would you do?
Tuesday, September 21, 2010.  From The New York Times: Developing Nations to Get Clean-Burning Cookstoves

Do you think it would be more effective to use money to buy stoves and give them away or to help local entrepreneurs start businesses to produce and sell stoves? 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010.  From The Austin American-Statesman: Fitness for the Furry

When coming up with an idea for a business, is it more important that the business solves a problem or that it helps other people achieve their dreams?

Thursday, September 23, 2010. From The Austin American-Statesman: Fantastic Fest adds Arcade, a new indie games festival

If you had to choose just one of these occupations, which would it be: game designer, game creator, or game tester?